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Published: August 28th 2018
The day started early as we had a flight to catch at 0900. We had about an hour from our lodge to the airport so we should have plenty of time. Unfortunately, it had rained all night, including a drip from the roof in our room. The rain meant slippery roads, and guess what. The lead truck - not ours slipped off the crown of the road and into a ditch. Stuck, bogged in our terminology.
Forward, backward, no go. Our 4wd experts in or truck were giving their opinion, all offering the best advice but in the end, the truck was stuck. Masha and Moses got out to push and shove, but no way was it coming out easily. Got out of the ditch but not straight, then into the next ditch. This time it had bottomed out and there was no easy way out. All in all, we had lots of stress in our truck from the experts who could have got out so easily.. I was having a ball just being quiet and saying that they know their stuff..
Anyway, finally one of the passing trucks pulled up in front, got a cable and out they came out easily. Woo hoo. Oh oh, trying to get back on the road, someone directed the driver over a bank and a bloody big rock. Stuck again. In the meantime, one of the trucks came through the mud and had to spin the wheels and steering to get out, nearly cleaning us up in the process. Inches between trucks on a slide, good driving, or pure luck. I laughed, others screamed and said they should be doing this and that.
Eventually, the original tow truck came back and pulled our other truck out successfully. Away they went, leaving us to back up and turn around in the mud. Masha did a good job, despite all the advice from the experts..... Read bite my tongue and stay very quiet, hard to believe but done successfully......
Away we go at great pace to the airport. Slipping here and sliding there. I felt really comfortable with Masha’s driving, but others wanted 4wd locked in. Masha said no, but when we slipped at one stage into the bank, there were noises of “told you so”. These were shut up very quickly as he apologised and drove straight out easily onto the hard stuff without a hassle. Go my man.....
Eventually made the airport relatively close to time in one piece. A few interesting passing manoeuvres but survived. Thanked Masha and had a laugh with the other driver, Deo. All good - nice guys and good fun to have been around. From here, they had to drive back to Arusha, maybe a 6 hour drive on shitty corrugated (now slippery) roads.
Through security at the airport - old style manual bag checks, i.e. open zips, feel stuff inside, take it out and check them move to the big bags for the same stuff. Once OK, then the wand over the body, and possibly a pat down. Worked pretty well so guess better to be safe than sorry. Up up and away to the border of Tanzania and Kenya.
We land and are met by our next drivers who give us the exit forms to fill in, ready for passport control. Souvenir sellers as usual, then into tour cars for the 30min drive to the border. Crazy stuff at the border, motorbikes, trucks and cars everywhere. We give our passports and exit forms to the new guys and follow with our yellow fever books. Wave them (yellow fever books) to the guard and into the security scanner. Pass that and to the passport office. Our passports come back stamped and we are off for the 600 metre drive to the Kenyan side.
Talk about no mans land. Wowsers. Anyway. Stop and into the next place. Again, yellow fever book, opened so the dude can see we are pure. Pass that test then into the passport office. 2 in front of me with E Visas go through OK. I’m up and we have East African Tourist Visa which covers us for Kenya and Rwanda. Guy looks at me and says I have an East African Tourist Visa. NSS. Yes, we are going to Rwanda after Kenya. Looks up, how many days in Kenya. Hmm, think, think. 4 nights. Stamps passport, writes stuff on the stamp and says, Welcome to Kenya. Big smile. OK , grab passport and off to the side.
Eventually all of our group through and out to the waiting cars. Turns out Moses had moved the cars, put our bags through the inspection point and we were good to go. Well almost, as it took another 10 minutes to get out of the gates. Finally on the road in Kenya. Another grubby town with motorbikes everywhere, butchers in shacks with meat hanging by the side of the road, and lots of other interesting stuff..
Finally get to the airstrip, our plane has just landed and we pack our bags into the hold we are and into the plane, ready to fly. Must admit, not the best legroom I have ever had (read legs under my chin and if Moses moves back he will get my legs in his neck). Good flight to our airstrip, met by our guides and then to a semi picnic they have setup under a tree. Nibbles, cold beers and other drinks. Nice welcome. We finally drive to our camp, the Karen Blixen tented camp ( Out if Africa movie filmed here for those interested). It is on the river with a central lounge, restaurant and grassed area.
Lunch and then rooms etc, and off for our afternoon drive. We have the second closest tent to the reception area. Winner. We have a river frontage with crocodiles as neighbours on the far bank and Hippos making funny noises in the river as well.
Settle in then we are off on an afternoon drive. Animal here, animal there, a bit blasé but we had seen most of these before, then Simon, our new driver says to hold on. A female lion on the hill. Off road we go and when we get there, we see the female with a sleeping cub, 4 others nearby, then at least another 4 or 5 cubs and females in the trees. Great start to the drive. Further on we notice 2 cars around a tree. As we approach, Simon says (get it) that there are cheetah. 2 of them just lying in the grass. Bonus.
Pics and more pics, then others arrive so we move on. More trucks gathered so that means something of interest. Sure enough, it is a male lion. Almost impossible to spot in the long grass. Can see his outline, but no real detail. I stand up and so does he. Sit down again, but he stays up for pics. Turns out he has just killed a female lions cubs and had a feast. The way of the jungle. He has blood on his head from either the cubs or the mother from the fight. Not nice but this is their territory and the way they exist.
Again we move on. There is a storm brewing, thunder and lightning, very very frightening. We start to get wet and eventually make the call to head back to the lodge. Canvas sides down in the tuck. Sort of effective and we slip slide home safely. To the rooms for a shower and dinner.
Good day all round. Not after a bit of stress, but all sorted out at the end. Think some have had enough and need to just get home. We are silent observers just enjoying what we get to see.
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